Amaechi inspects reconstruction of Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway project
…Says track-laying to get to Enugu September
The Hon. Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, on Sunday inspected the reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway project and expressed optimism of the track-laying getting to Enugu by September this year.
Amaechi who spoke to newsmen at the end of the inspection, said: “I just inspected the ongoing reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line.
“The contractors are working in different gangs across the line simultaneously. Our first target is to get track-laying from Port Harcourt to Enugu completed, and then proceed with the next phase.”
Speaking on the aspect of station construction, the minister said: “Our expectation is that they get to Enugu by September in terms of track-laying. I think we also need to ask them whether they will be able to construct the stations because there are stations that are yet to be approved by the cabinet. We need to go back to the cabinet to ask for those approvals.”
He also spoke on the need to provide more security for the workers, to avoid any case of kidnap.
On what to expect of the stations along the corridor, Amaechi said, “What we are trying to do in this narrow gauge is to build the same infrastructure that you have on the standard gauge because you can never tell when you will have a standard gauge on this line.
“Now, when building the standard gauge on this line, if I were still the Minister for Transportation, I would have asked that whoever is designing should design it in such a way that they use the same stations. That way, you reduce cost”.
On what to expect on his next inspection tour, the Minister noted: “I expect that they should have cleared up to Imo river; I expect that they should have started formation work and they should have gone far, because there is nothing much to do here. It already exists, it is a reconstruction.
“So, I expect that by the time we come back, formation work should have commenced and should have gotten close to Elele and should have either gotten to Imo River or exceeded Imo River if we must meet the target of September to get to Enugu.”
Earlier, the minister disclosed that the project, which was inaugurated in 2021, became slow in pace of work as a result of very low funds made available for it. He hoped that the work progress would be encouraging with the level of funds the contractors have for now.
“The project was inaugurated last year but it is at this level because enough funding was not given to them. Now, they have something that can make them go further from where they are. They have some level of funding and I hope that we secure the loan before they exhaust what we currently have,” he said.
The minister was accompanied on the inspection by Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Transportation; Engr. Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, and officials of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.